Paraphrasing Fareed Zakaria

14 Sep,2011

By Ranjona Banerji


It was a joy to watch Time international editor Fareed Zakaria on CNN-IBN being interviewed by Sagarika Ghose. Zakaria talked about both the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the US as well as India’s somewhat dismal record when it comes to pre-empting or even solving terror attacks. Zakaria was also candid about the demonisation of Muslims in India and called our policing  pathetic  and indeed, non-existent. Harsh words, but no less significant or true for that. The anchor, who is often loud and combative, only asked questions and then paraphrased Zakaria’s answers, presumably for us viewers who are short on understanding. Or perhaps cannot comprehend what is going on when sundry guests are not shouting at the same time.


And the award goes to Arnab Goswami!

The exploitation of every last drop of drama from a news event is practically an art form and the award has to go to Arnab Goswami and Times Now. The fact that the Supreme Court sent back a petition by riot victim Zakia Jafri on the culpability of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi in the Gujarat riots to a local court was presented as one woman’s lone battle and so on. Indian TV began the story with its distinct sense of speculation a day before the Supreme Court decision. No TV channel has so far taken the time to explain the context of this petition and has behaved  together with the BJP  as if this is the last legal word ever to be spoken on the riots. Nor has anyone called the BJP on its needless victory marches over nothing.

As ever, I admire and applaud our potential for stupidity.

RIP, Gautam Rajadhyaksha

The death of glamour photographer Gautam Rajadhyaksha, who imparted much beauty to our stars, was given fair play. The black money stashed abroad by Indians was in focus again as German and Swiss whistle blowers talked about their findings. It’s not all about politicians though — many rich Indians are involved.



The anniversary of the 9/11 attacks was commemorated with sombre dignity by the United States and this was reflected in the TV coverage. The anchors and reporters did not behave as if they were part of a travelling jatra troupe re-enacting some tragic melodrama and the focus was on the victims and their families. The politicians did not try to hog the limelight either and nor did TV channels look to them for that.


More newsgazing…

>> Fareed Zakaria was in the newspapers as well, looking at America after the 9/11 attacks in an edit page piece for Hindustan Times. In The Times of India’s edit page, Union law minister made a reasonable plea for consensus on the Lokpal bill but sadly, the Congress has lost so much ground here is that everything is too little too late.

>> The Telegraph, Calcutta gives the Supreme Court-Modi story a little twist by pointing out that Modi’s rise is causing maximum fear within the BJP itself and especially amongst other prime ministerial candidates.

>> The Deccan Chronicle’s Hyderabad edition headlined its Modi story God is great, tweets Modi but then went on to discuss how the Gujarat CM was not in the clear a feat well beyond Indian television. Meanwhile, Modi has decided to go on a fast for national unity, whatever that may mean.

>> Most newspapers also concentrated on the death at a French nuclear site, Jackie Kennedy Onassis’s observations on Indira Gandhi (prune bitter!), the critical condition of cricketer Mohammed Azharuddin’s son after a motorcycle accident, the blow up by Serena Williams at the US Open final which she then lost.

>> Websites were full of Novak Djokovic’s US Open win over Rafael Nadal, which finished early on Tuesday morning India time. Undoubtedly, tomorrow will see more on a brewing controversy between the ICC and BCCI and an awards ceremony. Let the drama continue!


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